Lady Macbeth is presented by Shakespeare as an enigmatic person. As the play unfolds we are exposed to the various facets of their character. She will stoop to nothing to achieve her goal. From a dutiful and lovely wife inheriting into a schemer and cold blooded murderess.
The object of this paper is to analyse the character of Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth is the adored and wife of Macbeth, a valiant warrier and cousin of King Duncan. He has been propherised by three witches to succeed to King Duncan on the throne of Scotland.
Macbeth confides the prophery to his wife :
“This have I thoughtâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.lay it to thy heart and farewell”. (act 1 sc 5 l.12-13)
Upon reading the missive, Lady Macbeth becomes restless and shows her real character. From a dutiful wife she turns into a schemer, who would resort to murder to establish her husband as King of Scotland.
“Glamis thou artâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦and shalt be what thou art promised!” (act 1 sc 5 l.14-15)
She can read her husband’s mind and is aware of his strength and weakness. She has doubts about Macbeth’s capacities, for he “
“is too full of human kindness” (Act 1 Sc 5 l.16) and wouldst play false” (Act 1 Sc 5 l. 20). Lady Macbeth has influential powers over her husband. She knows how to play with his feelings and win him over.
“Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chantine with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee form the Golden road” (Act 1 sc5 l.24-27)
She is a shrewed calculator, with an inhumane and devilish nature. Though being honest to Duncan she lets act ” That croaks the false entrance of Duncan under my battlements” (Act 1 Sc 5 l.38-39). Lady Macbeth is the perfect hypocrite and ego flattered, when it suits her purpose. To win over people’s trust and confidence. She welcomes Macbeth ” Great Glamis ! Worthy cowdor, greater than both, by the all hail hereafter”. (Act 1 Sc 5 l. 53-54). She easily hides her traitorous features: “To beguile the time, look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue, look like the innocent flower. But be the respect under’t” (Act 1 sc 5 l. 62-65)
In response to Duncan’s thanks for her hospitality, Lady Macbeth feigns humility. ” All our serviceâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦your majesty loads our home. (Act 1 Sc 6 l. 14-18) “Your servants ever”. (Act 1 sc 6 l. 25)
Lady Macbeth is the complete woman, having enjoyed motherhood ” I have given suck, and know how tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me” (Act 1 Sc 7 l.54-55). She is capable of showering some motherly feelings upon Macbeth “Come on gentle my lord: sleek o’er your rugged looks. Be bright and jovial among your guests tonight.”(Act 3 Sc 2 L.26-28)
She is also very affectionate towards Macbeth. “My worthy lord, your noble friends do lack you.” (Act 3 Sc 4 L.83) she shows some filial love “Had he not remembered my father as he slept, I have done it. ” (Act 2 Sc 2 L. 12-13)
She is quick, witted and can take control over a situation very easily, when Macbeth gets into a trance.:
To the lords : “Think of this, good peers,â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦. only it spoils the pleasure of the time” (Act 3 Sc 4 L.96-98)
To the lords :”I pray you speak lotâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..but go at once” (Act 3 Sc 4 L.117). She can be very reprimanding and authoritative.
“You have displaced the mirthâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦with your admired disorder” (Act 3 sc 4 L. 107-109).
“Be not but so poorly in your thoughts ” Actâ€¦â€¦â€¦.scâ€¦â€¦â€¦..
She is disdainful – Addressing to Macbeth she let out. “Things without remedy, should be without regard then again ” why do you make such faces when all’s done. You look out on a stool ” Actâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦scâ€¦â€¦â€¦.
She is self confident and conscious at her powers. “What held we fear. Who knows it when none can call our power to account”. She has determination – ordering Macbeth ” You shall put this rights great business into my dispatch ” Actâ€¦â€¦.scâ€¦â€¦ Addressing to Macbeth “But screw your courage to the sticking her and not fail” and treats Macbeth as “inform of purpose” (Act 2 Sc 2 L.)
She is a shrewedcalculator :
Her plans to feign innocence at the death of Duncan speaks for itself . Quote “make our griefs and glamour upon his death” Actâ€¦â€¦scâ€¦..
Her idea to put the blame on the guardsman confirms her temperament of shrewed calculator “For it must reach their guilt” Actâ€¦..scâ€¦â€¦â€¦
Lady Macbeth is a firm believer in Black Magic and evil spirits and does not hesitate to call upon them for assistance in her evil doings. “Come you spiritsâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦and passage to remark” Actâ€¦â€¦scâ€¦â€¦.
She challenges the powers of dark “Come to my women’s breastâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦your ordering ministers”.
She becomes outrageous, hostile and callous when contrived and would not hesitate to resort to dangerous meaning like killing a babe. “I would while it was smiling in my faceâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦and devilled his brains out”â€¦. She would not listen to Macbeth suggestion that he will not ” proceed no further in this business”.
She is very authoritative, she imposes on Macbeth “Go get some water and wash this filthy vertues from your hand” Actâ€¦scâ€¦.
“Give me the daggers” (Act 2 Sc 2 L.50)
“Be not lost so poorly in your thoughts: Actâ€¦.scâ€¦.
She has light by her continuously it is to her command”
Finally she has no remorse
“She sleeping and the chart are but pictures”
“What, done cannot be undone”
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